As a kid I never retained the stories my father and his brothers and sister told me. Not only them, but old neighbors who lived near the Hunter boys about 30 or 40 years ago had plenty to tell me. I thought it was interesting at the time but did not consider retaining any of it. Old Blind Charley who lived with his sister had some doozies to tell me about the Hunter boys.
My father's father kept his moonshine hidden underneath the house. At times he would have a belt of it and let out a big sigh. One time after hitting the bottle he was crying. I asked him what was the matter. He told me he didn't know our real last name. He said his father was an orphan at birth and had the last name of the family that kept him, up in Franklin, North Carolina.
I finally retained something. In fact, I was so impressed with not having a known last name I went to school bragging about it. My parents or Miss Whitehead called my parents wanting to know what I was talking about - they had papers to fill out on things like this.
Years later, in 1975 we had our first child. I wanted to give my son a heritage. A story of our ancestors. But I remembered my great grandfather was an orphaned.
I did a little research on how to do family research. Then I went to Woodstock to Carmel Baptist Church, where I knew my great grandfather William A. Hunter was buried, found his tombstone and wrote down his living dates (1842 - 1928). I also knew he was from Franklin, North Carolina, fought in the Civil War and was wounded near here during the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain in June 1864. I went to the Kenneaw Mountain Civil War Museum and talked to somebody about the possibiliy of finding William's name. He told me they had a list of every man that fought there that summer. He asked his name. I told him and looked up on his index, which at that time wasn't on a computer I don't think. He looked and looked and said there was no William A. Hunter that fought on Kennesaw Mountain during the Civil War.
I found out about censuses. They had a census every ten years. 1850 was the first that everyone in the household was listed along with their age. Up until 1850 only the heads of households were listed.
The Cobb County Library, at that time was on Atlanta Street in the old Post Office. The Georgia Room a the library was family research friendly. I learned how to use the microfilm reader I looked at the 1850 Macon County, North Carolina, census in search for William A. Hunter, about 8. Franklin, was the county seat of Macon County.
I looked at every name in Macon County in 1850 and there was no William A Hunter, any age. There was only one Hunter family in Macon County that year, Jason H. Hunte and he had no children named William A. Hunter.
My next step was to get my neighbor Harry who worked for Southern Bell or Bell South to get me a Macon County telephone book. Harry did. I think he did it because his boss was my cousin Dee's husband.
I knew William's wife was Emaline Ray, also from Macon. With the telephone book I sent every Ray and Hunter family listed in the phone book, a letter with a self-addressed stamped envelope enclosed asking them did they know of an Emaline Ray who married William A. Hunter.
I got a few of my SASE envelopes back wishing me good luck in my search. Then I got a letter the president of Ray's Cured Hams in Franklin saying that I might try his cousin Hess Ray, which I probably didn't have Hess's address because he didn't have a phone. He knew all about the Ray history, the president of the ham company told me.
I wrote Hess and got a reply. It said in so many words that William A. Hunter's real name was William A. Trammell. He said after the war when he returned home he and his brother Van killed a man and they were wanted for murder, they fled. William changed his last name to Hunter.
Then I moved swiftly. I went back to the office of the Kennesaw Mountain Museum and yes, William A. Trammell, of North Carolina is on the list. I went back to the library to look at the 1850 Census again, yes William A. Trammell was listed as a grandson living in the Jacob B. Trammell household . In the same household there was Jacob VanBurren Trammell, who was actually an uncle of William's, but they were about the same age.
I sent off to the Probate Judge of Macon County asking for the copy of the wedding certficate for Emaline Ray and it came back that she married William A. Trammell.
Later I found that William deceased mother sued Jason Henderson Hunter, the town of Franklin's constable, for Bastardy, and won. The court was ordered that he pay child supprt of $100 a year. So, William actually claimed his paternal name which most people do at childbirth.
But all these questions's answers were starting to fit like a glove and I was finding out so much about my family plus real history.
I was hooked! Thank you William, wherever you are.
This house is now American Tool Rental, Main Street, Woodstock, Georgia